Moogfest, 2018 has delivered a plethora of new and exciting synths and gadgets in celebration of the legacy of inventor and synthesizer pioneer Bob Moog. Now in its third year with a fresh look, it lit up downtown Durham for synth addicts with a renewed energy and excitement.
For four days, 2018’s festival transformed the downtown Durham vibe into a playground of pop-up performances, transformative performance installations and interactive art. We are here to highlight some of the great new gear that was on show during the festival.
Teenage Engineering OP-Z
Teenage Engineering continue with their efforts to make, small, compact devices like the successful OP-1, Swiss instrument designers Teenage Engineering have brought forth the OP-Z—a combination 16-channel sequencer, real-time synchronous video editor, and groovebox that fits easily into your jacket pocket or backpack.
The OP-Z also easily integrates into any iOS device, providing instant touch control over parameters.
1010 Music Modular System with New Euroshield
With the rise in the popularity of Euroracks and Modular systems you only have to look at what Arturia have recently released with their Rackbrute Eurorack Cases system, comes the 1010 Music Modular Synthesizer.
The Modular Synthesizer is comprised of four modules—the Toolbox , Bitbox, FXbox, and SynthBox. Each module packs a big punch on its own, but when paired together, the result is a complete polyphonic modular synth, sampler, and audio manipulator in well under a single 104hp rack.
The 1010’s latest offering—the “Euroshield”—enables players to interface with the Teensy microcontroller to develop anything from an oscillator to an effects processor and anything in between, often with less than 99 lines of code. Don’t let the digital nature of these analog machines deter you from building a system that’s all you.
Erogenous Tones “Structure” Digital Video Synthesizer Module
A year or so ago Erogenous Tones released an expansion module for the Moog Mother-32, with this and a line of complex utility Eurorack modules behind them, the firm’s next venture is into the world of video synthesis.
Instead of building modules to complete the existing LZX Video Synthesizer system, the manufacturer is going all out with a standalone video instrument boasting image processing and digital 3D pattern generation reminiscent of classic ’90s rave visuals. It’s said that with two of these and a small set of LZX modules, VJs can ditch the comfort of a laptop and shred directly with hardware without issue.
Though still in prototype phase, the “Structure” very close to beta and release in less than a year.
Sunhouse “Sensory Percussion” Transient Drum Triggers
For something a little different, Queens-based Sunhouse have showcased their “Sensory Percussion” drum triggers, by introducing new software for expanding real-time control settings over classic drum setups.
The Sunhouse system allows you to mount a set of triggers to your drum kit that can be used to control an endless number of percussion instruments and synthesizers via MIDI. The triggers respond to the placement, velocity, and speed of your stick hits and communicates all of that input to the software engine.
The Sensory Percussion system is designed to maintain more of the human element of your playing than other drum trigger devices and is worth checking out for any drummer who already does or wants to start using MIDI with their kit.
As with every proceeding year during Moogfest, Moog releases a new synthesiser that often honors some chapter of the historic brand’s legacy. This years model release is called the Grandmother, and has already received rave reviews from various pockets of the synth community within it’s first week after its initial reveal.
The Grandmother is a standard two-voice subtractive analog synth, with a strong color palette to match its decidedly retro sound structure. It’s a truly inspiring synth that lets users bliss out in a familiar place without going too far out of their comfort zone. Though if the demand is there, individually patch points within each “module” allow for complete sonic freedom and expandability with the existing Eurorack-compatible systems.